The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new weight loss drug, the first in more than ten years. Belviq, by Arena Pharmaceuticals, was cleared for use in adults who are obese or overweight with an associated medical complication such as diabetes.
While the drug achieved only modest weight loss in trials, safety concerns cited in an FDA denial in 2010 related to tumors in animal studies appeared sufficiently reconciled by additional data. FDA sensitivity to previous weight loss medication disasters was evident, referring to the infamous fen-phen combination in a statement.
Fen-phen was linked to serious heart valve damage in the mid-1990’s, but the agency said that Belviq does not appear to activate the same chemical pathways. Belviq acts on brain signals, reducing appetite by stimulating feelings of fullness and satiety.